The Latest Serving of Epic Industrial-Soul from a B-Boy Tech Report / The New Beatmaker Favourite Displays Tenacity, Strength and Progression
Regular readers will already know that B-Boy Tech Report and The New Beatmaker very much enjoy the ‘uneasy listening’ style of Evil Alex.
His signature sound of industrial-rock-meets-dusted-hip-hop evokes emotions ranging from discomfort to terror, through to resilience and optimism.
For all the moments of the former on Evil Alex’s latest, ‘Gargantuan EP’, it is these latter two qualities of resilience and optimism that really shine through.
Beat-wise, the project surpasses prior Evil Alex highlights including ‘iGeneration’ and the ‘Hate’ EP.
‘Gargantuan (Introduction)’ is a delightfully twisted slab of electronic vocals and tortured piano stabs; ‘Looking Back from Space’ is the soundtrack to something inhuman lurking in the woods behind a Middle-American housewives’ get-together; whilst ‘Netflix and Chill’ is a meditative D’n’B workout.
The first noticeable progression is that Alex’s production on this go-round is more polished than that of his earlier outings. However, a nice dose of the grit and grime that helped make his earlier work so visceral in the first place is maintained.
A second clear evolutionary marker in Alex’s sound is his confidence in collaborating with other vocalists on the project.
This is exhibited on the almost radio-friendly ‘Sound of Soul / Right Now (Remix)’ featuring a stellar performance from underground rap veteran Blueprint; and the terrifying-yet-beautiful reworking of fellow Chicagoan Gira Dahnee’s attention-demanding ‘Painted Waltz’.
It is testament to Alex’s skill as a producer and composer that he has been able to meet these artists halfway; making music with enough rhythmic and stylistic stability to lay vocals over, without losing his experimental edge in the process.
Interestingly, when Alex himself steps from behind the boards to the mic, on the satirical and funky ‘Hundred Thousand Dollar Cars’, he follows the track up with an instrumental take straight afterwards.
This arguably hints at a lack of confidence in his own vocals, which evoke the feeling of a Rick Ross club smash as re-imagined by Kool Keith.
The beat employs meticulous sample snippets: women purr the names of expensive automobile brands, engines rev aggressively; and Indian drums ‘boing’ satisfyingly like slowed-down droplets hitting a larger water surface.
Prior to the release of his last full-length project ‘Sounds in a Vacuum’, Alex experienced the nightmare that every musician must fear the most: he suffered the loss of the original version of the album due to a hardware failure.
Whilst his revised and replayed version of ‘Sounds…’ and its follow-up project ‘MaLAise’ were both satisfying, the shadow of this loss inevitably loomed largely over both.
Now, Evil Alex is back, sounding stronger than ever before.
Alex has called this latest release ‘…more (of) a trial run’. With this project having a quality and a cohesiveness to warrant it as one of the year’s best projects, it looks like big, nay, ‘Gargantuan’ things lay ahead for Evil Alex.